Alan Fromm had a good life: a six-figure salary; a nice house in Plainview, Long Island; a kid in college, and another in high school; a wife who could afford to work only part-time. Then in January 2009, there was a company-wide phone call. Fromm's consulting firm needed to do some cost-cutting, and a sweep of people were soon laid-off.
Then in February, the same thing happened.
And then again in March, and April.
Finally, in June, Fromm was called into his manager's office.
"You never think it's going to happen to you. I thought my job was safe," Fromm explains. But 80 percent of the staff was ultimately let go. Fromm stomached the news pretty well, as he took his last commute back to Long Island. "I figured OK I was out of work. It wasn't the end of the world," he said. "I didn't think much of it. But surprise, I was out for 18, 19 months."